The 10-year contract is to provide the trees which will be planted along the first phase of the project, from London to the West Midlands.
This advance procurement contract for trees and plants is the largest ever let by government to our sector and Crowders said: "we are delighted to have been successful. It’s a great endorsement of our capabilities to win such a huge contract and It will underpin our business and provide security and opportunities for employees for the next 10 years. The numbers are very significant and our first growing instruction contains 1.8m plants with over 500,000 container grown items and 130,000 trees over 2m tall both bare-root and root-balled."
The trees will be a mix of native species grown from seed over the next 12 months. In total, the first phase of HS2 will create more than 1,000 hectares of woodland, equivalent to seven times the size of Hyde Park in London.
Planting will be integrated with the construction programme and designed to help blend the train line into the existing landscape. Lost woodland will be replaced and new plantings will help to create ‘green corridors’ linking currently isolated wooded areas with new ones.
Construction is due to begin early next year, with the first trees planted in locations identified for advance planting from autumn 2017 to spring 2018.
Phase two of HS2 in spurs from Crewe to Manchester and from Birmingham to Leeds will have a similar amount of planting, which is likely to go out to tender in the early 2020s. HS2 has had to combat repeated protests around planned removal of small amounts of ancient woodland along the route.